• Joe Frazier 1944-2011

Frazier wouldn't have feared King Kong - Foreman

ESPN staff
November 9, 2011
Joe Frazier fought George Foreman twice © PA Photos
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Joe Frazier: Career in pictures

George Foreman has revealed that Joe Frazier, who died this week aged 67 after a short battle with liver cancer, inspired him to become a champion.

Frazier is inextricably linked to Muhammad Ali because of their three epic fights - but he also shared the ring with Foreman, the other great heavyweight of the era, on two occasions.

In the first, Foreman had to floor Frazier six times before the bout was stopped, and in the second, Foreman triumphed in the fifth round after forcing two knockdowns. The pair went on to become friends, and Foreman has paid a glowing tribute to Frazier.

"The term 'one and only' has been widely used to introduce many a celebrity, athlete and politician. Generally, they've appeared in print, TV or movies," Foreman said. "With most of these folks, 'one and only' is the last definition they deserve. But this is not the case with Smokin' Joe Frazier. Truly the one and only.

"Joe Frazier, for me, was the first champion I followed and studied. I wanted to fight him one day. His fighting style was [like] his way of life. When the bell [rang], he would not back up from King Kong! I know. I knocked Joe down six times in our first fight. When our fight was over, Joe was on his feet looking for me."

Ali and Foreman were the only men to ever defeat Frazier in the ring.

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